Friday, February 27, 2009

More About Maremmas

A picture is worth a thousand words and this one speaks volumes about the intelligence of this breed of livestock guardian. Our dogs provide us with a sense of ease about the safety of our sheep and goats. Always on duty, we can rest assured that they are on the watch.

This is Laika our adult female.

Sirius as a serious puppy.

Laika as a puppy.

Days 'Til Spring ?

Now it's 22 ! YES !

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Break in the Action

Well, its been a very busy week since our last chance to post something here. To date we have 18 kids - 6 boys, 12 girls. Not quite half the nannies have kidded.

This is a brother - sister set of twins born on the 21st.

A group shot of week old kids playing in a corner of the barn.

Another section of the barn with nannies waiting their turn and one very frisky one year old.

And at the end of each busy day we get to see a beautiful picture courtesy of mother nature.
Don't get me wrong, its hard work and there's heartbreak along with the highlights. This morning we delivered a breech kid that did not live. This is the story of farming and the story of life. We try to learn something from each disappointment and realize it is all part of the circle of life.
24 Days 'Til Spring.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Baby Goats - 30 Days 'Til Spring

No, this nanny is not in the witness protection program. She just had the smallest kid of the season. This little guy weighs in at about a pound and a half but he's up and nursing and doing well. You go guy !

A very handsome BIG buck kid. Maybe a future stud !

You know what they say "Let sleeping kids ......".

Twin red natural color doe kids.

So, to date ........ 9 kids total - 3 boys, 6 girls.
To be continued.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Kids on the Block - They're Here !

After much anticipation the first of our 2009 kids arrived without incident yesterday. TWIN GIRLS ! Yeah ! The nanny, Allie or BWBA #9, is one of our oldest mothers this year. The new kids are BWBA #402 and BWBA #403. Both are healthy girls. They arrived a bit earlier than we had calculated but that was an arithmetic error on our part.

Welcome to the farm - girls !
34 Days 'Til Spring

Thursday, February 12, 2009

6 Days 'Til Baby Goats - 37 Days'Til Spring

Yesterday and today we sheared our pregnant nanny goats - 35 in all. This is about 20 less than we had planned on kidding but that's the way things go sometimes. On the plus side is that all of our girls looked great and we will not mind the shortened kidding season at all ! Sometimes an unexpected break is a good thing. Now in just about another week, we should have our first kids of 2009. Can't wait ! Many pictures to follow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

8 Days 'Til Baby Goats, 39 Days 'Til Spring

Well, we've reached a milestone in the countdown to kidding time. Tonight we put the nannies in the barn. Tomorrow and Thursday we shear. Then we wait, and check, wait some more, check some more. The first kid of 2009 will be goat # 402. Hard for us to believe that we have had 401 Angora kids born on the farm. This number pales in comparison to Texas Angora numbers but for us it represents 15 + years of painstakingly breeding for a "better" fiber animal. Progress is slow. Rule of thumb is it may take 10 generations to breed finer fiber onto your animals. We have focused on this trait in our herd. Fine fiber is what goes into our products. The longer an animal produces a fine grade of hair, the more productive the animal is for us. With little exception, all of our adult animals are producing a kid or yearling grade of fiber. Most of our fiber is sold "raw" to other fiber mills and farms, or used for our own products - we only use kid. Any fiber we do not use is shipped to warehouses in Texas where customers come from all over the world to purchase high quality American mohair.
So, tomorrow we begin our spring harvest....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

12 Days 'Til Baby Goats - 42 Days 'Til Spring

Today we are processing fiber. This is generally what we do during the winter months. Other than the daily farm chores there's not a lot of things we can do outdoors with a foot of ice and snow on the ground. The barn is pretty much set for our kids to arrive and next week we shear our 35 pregnant nannies. Thankfully it is supposed to be above freezing for the next week so maybe some of the snow and ice will melt and we'll feel a hint of spring in the air. Elvis ( pictured above) is ready for some baby goat action as well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

16 Days 'Til Baby Goats

Just a couple of weeks from now we'll have a new "crop" of kids ! That's right, our main farm crop is our fiber babies - kids and lambs. These animals represent our farm's future in both breeding stock potential and fiber production. Each day brings the excitement associated with opening a gift - we wonder with each potential birth, what's inside ?
Before the kids arrive though we will be shearing the mothers, our nannies. The majority of our nannies are experienced mothers, but we always have a few "first timers" that sometime need a hand getting started. We do around the clock barn checks and only help out when needed.
Angora kids can be delicate the first few hours of life, especially when its cold outside. While our goats kid indoors in the relative warmth of the barn, we are always there checking to make sure everything is ok. Besides, we want to be there when our gifts are opened - there's NOTHING cuter than a baby goat !
Our apologies to all you humans out there - no offense meant.
46 Days 'Til Spring

Monday, February 2, 2009

47 Days 'Til Spring - Ground Hog Day

The other day we were the recipients of yet one more snow, ice and rain storm combo.
Our solar panels were covered with a sheet of ice as was everything else. There is even a sheet of ice on top of the snow. This makes for a lot of slipping and sliding by all concerned. Where's spring ? What did Punxsutawney Phil say ? 6 more weeks of the white stuff ! Rats ! -or should I say Ground Hogs !

Summer Sheep